Sunday 18 September 2022
They tell you they were grieving long before
it was cool. They tell you their grief is more
valid than your grief. They say that they
know how to grieve properly, and you don’t.
They reckon some deaths are more worthy
of grief than others, and that if you grieve the
right people, you are thereby a better person.
If you grieve the wrong people then you are basic,
you are a sheeple, you are fake. They like to
draw your attention to little known deaths that
nobody has heard of, dusting off their memories
like old vinyl in a record shop. Those deaths,
they say, are more deserving of attention than
your deaths. They want you to be sad, but only
in ways they approve of. If you are sad in a
different way then better to be happy instead.
They refuse to go along with the crowd – if
others are crying they will go out of their way
to parade their joy. If others are joyful, they will
point wihering fingers. Pain comes in hierarchies,
they say. Death Hipsters. Each tear carries a value,
each life a worth. And they know how to calculate
it properly, and you don’t. Remember that.
And in your pain, remember that you are wrong.
Thursday 15 September 2022
We’re famous for buses,
The Beatles and pubs;
For Shakespeare’s plays
And the best football clubs;
We bake a mean crumpet,
We make a good brew,
But the one thing we’re best at –
We know how to queue!
We queue for the toilet
We queue for the shops
We queue up in restaurants
The queue never stops
We queue in the sunshine
We queue in the rain
We queue and we queue
And we never complain.
We’re decent at cricket
And rugby and castles;
We’ve got Royal Mail
We love fish and chips
And the chimes of Big Ben,
But for waiting in line
We get ten out of ten!
We queue at the market
We queue in the street
Through darkness and light
And through storms and through sleet
We queue in the queue
And, with stip upper lip,
“A jolly fine queue”
You just might hear us quip.
We’re Cockneys and Scousers
And Geordies and Toffs;
We linger in columns
And nobody scoffs;
And if you’re in doubt
About what you should do,
Just come on and join in
The Great British Queue!
Tuesday 13 September 2022
POLICE LOG BOOK
After Edward Gorey
A is for Angus, who held up a sign
B is for Bella, who won’t fall in line
C is for Colin, who shouted out loud
D is for Donna, apart from the crowd
E is for Edward, who won’t genuflect
F is for Francis, whose words weren’t correct
G is for Gary, who said ‘Not My King’
H is for Hugo, The Queen’s not his thing
I is for Imran, who heckled a Prince
J is for Johnny, who’s not been seen since
K is for Krystal, who didn’t love Lizzy
L is for Liam, who kept the cops busy
M is for Mary, destroying the mood
N is for Nigel, his placard too crude
O is for Ollie, who tweeted a joke
P is for Polly, for being too woke
Q is for Quentin’s republican views
R is for Ronnie, who won’t shine his shoes
S is for Sharon, who won’t wave a flag
T is for Tommy, who hummed Billy Bragg
U is for Umar, whose tie wasn’t straight
V is for Victor, who said ‘abdicate!’
W’s Willie, his posture not right
X is for Xena, who’s not seen the light
Y is for Yakub, the ‘peace’ he did ‘breach’
Z is for Zara, who wanted ‘free speech’.
Wednesday 7 September 2022
at the poem on the internet, and it made us
feel good. For one thing, we were all in it
together, a community of chuckles
and mutual disbelief – how could a poem so bad
have been published? What kind of asshat
would write a poem like that? But also,
we were secretly pleased that we weren’t
the ones being ripped apart. We were grateful
that, even though it may be the case
that not many people read our work,
at least we weren’t being pilloried online.
I remember being at school, never bullied
but often ignored. I hung on the edges of circles,
grateful that the kid being taunted wasn’t me.
I enjoyed it. No one was looking my way –
I was safe. I was safe, and everyone laughed.
Tuesday 6 September 2022
Pigs that oink. Pigs that bleat.
Pigs that lie. Pigs that cheat.
Pigs with snouts in the trough.
Pigs with assets to sell off.
Pigs that snaffle. Pigs that pander.
Pigs that swindle and philander.
Pigs dishonest. Pigs oblivious,
Pigs corrupt and ignominious.
Pigs that drool. Pigs that wallow.
Pigs that lead. Pigs that follow.
Pigs that quaff. Pigs that snort.
Pigs who should be sat in court.
Pigs intent to save their bacon.
Pigs immoral, godforsaken.
Pigs in mansions, not in sties.
Pigs in suits. Pigs in ties.
Pigs with blonde, dishevilled wigs…
Basically, it's full of pigs.
(new Prime Minister Liz Truss is notorious for her love of pork markets.)
Thursday 1 September 2022
there was a tree stump
with a seat carved into it.
We used to pretend
it was a spaceship.
At break and lunch
we’d fly to faraway planets,
shooting lasers from the sticks
that we gripped in our hands.
We’d argue over who
was the Captain,
who was the Navigator,
and we’d all cram in tight together
on that stump.
A regular crew we were
back then. Now I sit
alone at the office, papers
piled up in front of me,
and I try to convince myself
that my chair is a pram.
And it’s quite fun, I guess.
But it’s not the same.